Fishing for Therapy & Your Supper



(I like the post HOWEVER, I’m a catch & release person. Pics of mine on stringers is when they’re damaged & wouldn’t survive. Darn trout really swallow hooks down! I prefer bass anyway.)

Fishing: Spring Cleaning for the Soul?

“To go fishing is to wash ones soul with pure air” 
 – Herbert Hoover

My personal experience precisely – no wonder we become addicted to fishing.

Perhaps we fish because we instinctively feel a need. In tracing the history of fishing, there is evidence suggesting this activity dates back to the Upper Palaeolithic period beginning 40,000 years ago. Fishing for our supper is an activity found across all cultures.  We have utilised many different methods: hands, nets, spears, traps, and rods.  There are Stone Age fishing hooks and rod fishing is depicted on Egyptian artifacts dating back to 2000 BC.

The History of Fishing on Wikipedia states that the earliest western literature relating to recreational fishing was in 17th Century writing of English angler/author Izaak Walton.  Walton wrote The Complete Angler (1653) that promoted the activity of fishing.  It suggested that participation provided benefits such as ‘the pleasures of friendship, verse & song, good food & drink’. (i) Whereas, I don’t often find myself bursting into verse or song whilst fishing, I can relate to this having reached many a contemplative state of mind (or washing of the soul) and therefore, agree how easily this urge might manifest (stay posted for that event!)Why do we continue to fish when fish can so easily be purchased from a supermarket? Are we dipping back into a primal need? Much has been written on the benefits of outdoor recreation.  In a paper by James Neill titled Nature Theory – On the connection between natural environments & human well-being (2005)Neill writes “The original theory, arguably, underlying human experience is the notion that ‘returning to nature’ is good. This could perhaps be called “Garden of Eden” theory.”  Neill notes that there has been a more recent “shifting from urbanised, complex environments to more natural environments is seen as valuable for relaxing, calming, healing, re-connecting, and strengthening human beings.”  He also suggests that research has revealed “inherently positive effects on physical and psychological well-being for humans (and other animals).” This inspiring paper suggests that multiple benefits may be derived from embracing activities in the great outdoors and many of these can be attributed to our genetic make-up.  Neill writes that connecting with nature “could awaken or activate particular types of physical and psychological “indigenous” responses.’”(ii) 

 Another article relating to our need to connect with the great outdoors titled“Benefits of outdoor exercise go beyond fitness” was published in The Times Tribune and written by Paul J. Mackeray, a doctor in health sciences.  Mackerayreports how 90% of Americans are spending their lives indoors and describes the health benefits they are missing out on. He suggests studies show that even ‘less vigourous activities’such as fishing or just getting outdoors can be important to physical and psychological health and well-being. (iii) A question we often hear is “Why do men like fishing?” As an keen fisherman, Herbert Hoover suggested “All men are equal before fish”(iv). A statement to which women should now be added as many, like myself, have ‘taken up the rod’.  Fishing is a great equalizer as status, age, gender, or the cost/brand of your equipment is of little importance to the fish.  It presents the same challenge and benefits whoever you are, and as mentioned before, seems to fulfil our Hunter-Gatherer instinct to connect with nature and catch our own food. Other answers to “Why men fish? commonly include:

 ·        Just being outside in the peace & quiet

·        Getting away from it all and getting back in touch with nature

·        Relaxing & unwinding

·        Leaving the troubles of the world behind

·        Out-smarting the fish with lures and flies & the skill involved in ‘bringing it in’

·        Bonding with your mates and fishing with a few beers·        Spending quality time with the family and creating happy memories

·        Getting away from the wife and family and spending time on your own

·        Competition with your mates and being in a tournament

·        Catching your own dinner and eating fresh fish

·        An excuse to do nothing whilst outwardly appearing to be busy·        The thrill of being in a boat or wading through the water, and

·        Doing what you were born to do.

Similar to the last response, many answer that they don’t know why they like fishing, they just do.  This might confirm that the act of fishing is an innate need and a consequence of being human.  Like many others, I could happily live with this last response as we stand patiently focusing on the middle distance (or nothing at all) allowing our souls to be flushed with pure air.   Try this therapy – you’ll be back for more.Happy fishing!

~ by Caro Wags (DeepEndFishing)
Caro Deep End Fishing Charters